Koniku Kore computer could sniff out explosives

The neuron-based device was built by Nigerian Oshi Agabi and shown off at TEDGlobal

A computer based on mice neurons has been revealed that can "smell" explosives in the same way dogs can detect cancer in their human counterparts, making it a vital piece of kit for the computing world.

Nigerian researcher Oshi Agabi developed the Koniku Kore technology that he believes could be the basis of AI and computing of the future, reverse-engineering biology to make a computer as smart as a human - or mouse, in this case - for detecting hostile environments.

Announced at the TEDGlobal conference taking place in Tanzania, he explained that although machines are very good at processing millions of mathematical equations concurrently, faster and more accurately than a human, nothing comes close to the brain's cognitive functions.

He set out to combine the key features of the human brain with silicon to develop a smart machine that can, in this case, detect smells and alert users. 

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"Biology is technology. Bio is tech," he told attendees at the conference. "Our deep learning networks are all copying the brain....You can give the neurons instructions about what to do - in our case, we tell it to provide a receptor that can detect explosives."

Agabi explained the neurons used to develop the technology have been taken out of the lab and will survive for months. However, he has complete faith that such technology could be used with a much longer shelf life in future.

"We think that the processing power that is going to run the robots of the future will be synthetic biology-based and we are laying the foundations for that today," he said.

Although it's only a concept at present (although it does actually work to a very sophisticated degree), Agabi explained that it could be used for a wide array of functions, including at airport security gates and other places where bombs are a real threat to human life.

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